INTERVIEW. “Woodstock remains an incredible memory”: Ten years after returning to Tarn in his 60-year career

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From Woodstock to San Francisco, the blues rock group was founded in 1964. After performing in Gaillac in 2017, the British quartet Ten years after returns to Tarn for the “Cap sur Cap” festival on March 16.

Ric Lee, the group's iconic drummer, recalls with nostalgia his rock and roll tours in his youth. Carried by the latest musical projects of the quartet, between two drumming hits he shares impatience to meet the French audience.

Ric, you're 78 years old, you started playing music 60 years ago, and you look like you're 20! Where do you get the energy to continue performing on stage?

Don't tell me that, sometimes we laugh about it with my friends! It's hard for me at the moment because I'm getting over the flu that made me weak, but I'm getting back in shape. Here in England there is a long canal that I like to walk along. My goal is to really get my muscles moving, I will walk every day. I used to force myself to play drums at least 30 minutes a day. I have to admit that I do it less than before.

Is the atmosphere at today's concerts the same as before?

Obviously, things have changed over time, but the vibe and atmosphere of the concerts remains largely the same. Before we left much less prepared, now we can have the equipment on site, it is very practical and we can exercise more calmly, so we are also more “relaxed”.

You already came to Gaillac 7 years ago, do you like the Tarn?

We love French tours as well as European tours. People and landscapes are very beautiful. Generally, we land in Germany with our equipment for the tour and continue by bus to France. The atmosphere is great, we have time to talk together. Then it's a much more emotional trip, it's not like in the 60s when we flew from city to city in the United States.

In fact, you did big concerts like the legendary Woodstock. There you go to Cap sur Cap' which is much smaller, what do you like about those small concerts?

It's great in France, the concerts we have here are smaller, so we're obviously closer. The welcome that the French public gives us every time is simply magnificent. We love interacting with our fans, it's really valuable. Humans have a lot more emotions.

As for Woodstock, it was amazingly memorable, but it was crazy. I remember, people parked everywhere and we couldn't get closer than 8 km to the place. We actually had to take a helicopter to go and perform. Below us was a huge crowd. The guys were climbing the infrastructure and falling into the crowd. While we were playing, we had problems with ourselves. It was nonsense, there was really no organization.

Ric Lee and his group Ten years after will hold a concert on March 16 at the Maison de la Musique du Garric.

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